Facebook Messenger
Some users should start getting sponsored messages on Messenger starting this week. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Facebook has seen the success of sponsored ad messages and has decided to expand its reach. Starting this week, businesses and companies will be able to directly send ads to users on Facebook Messenger and start conversations with chatbots.

With Facebook’s advertising platform, businesses and companies will be able to display “highly-targeted, in-context” ads to a user’s Messenger thread, according to The Next Web. Also, ads displayed on the News Feed will be able to redirect users to Messenger to start conversations. To avoid any potential pushback from users, Facebook has given some limitations on how these ads will pop up on Messenger.

A company will only be able to directly send ads, called “sponsored messages,” to a user’s Messenger thread if that user has previously contacted or interacted with that company. Businesses will of course have to pay Facebook in order to do this. If a company tries to engage in a conversation with a user that’s no longer interested, the user will be able to block them, according to CNET.

That being said, this also means that users will have to be more careful on how they interact on the Facebook News Feed and on Messenger. If users want to avoid receiving sponsored messages from brands or companies they’re not interested in, users should make sure not to message those chatbots.

If a user does message a chatbot or interact with an interactive ad on the News Feed, the company behind it will have the freedom to keep sending the user sponsored messages, according to The Guardian. This may include shopping discounts and restaurant offers. This is quite troubling considering that some users might not want to entirely block those companies in the first place.

Blocking them from Messenger appears to be the only real safeguard against potential spamming. This will also make sure that companies and businesses will only deliver high-quality sponsored messages to users to avoid getting blocked.

Some users should begin seeing these sponsored messages on Facebook Messenger this week. However, the new ads won’t be affecting all Facebook users. Sponsored messages will mostly affect those who have already interacted with company chatbots in the past or have liked company Facebook pages.